As part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations of Amala Villa Ubud, we were treated to dinner at Restaurant Locavore in Ubud, Bali. Not having read anything prior, I was pleasantly surprised to find out there was a Dutch connection and that it is rated as one of the top 10 restaurants to eat in Bali, and one of the top 50 restaurants in South East Asia.
Restaurant Locavore led by Ray Adriansyah and Eelke Plasmeijer, the latter being the Dutch connection, uses local ingredients to create dishes that make you pause and think both prior and during your eating experience. The cuisine is described as molecular; we had interesting reactions with the large party attending and therefore a wide taste preference, topping that with a fairly wide demographic.
We had a five course menu for that evening, of course with the addition of several amuse bouches to introduce us to the cuisine, plus ending the menu with several petit fours.
Om te beginnen:
Fresh cool slice of cucumber dressed with a dash of vinegar. You will have to excuse my literal descriptions but I didn’t quite want to write down every word that our kind waitress described. In essence I guess my companions and I were also mentally analysing the presentation of eight small slices of cucumber arranged in a small dish on top of some dark pebbles. What was going through our minds? – is that just one a piece? To be fair, I am assuming that this was the first dish to cleanse our palettes to initiate our taste buds to the rest of the meal.
A plate of radishes was next up, continuing our slightly stunned thoughts; I bet some of us were beginning to think… is this all we are getting? Is this the style of the meal? And still we were too polite to comment opening about it.
We followed with a shiitake tasting mushroom, very delicate but concentrated flavours, house baked bread with a basil oil dip and a coconut oil dip, and the amuse bouche that totally tested our senses, a small bouquet of what seemingly appeared to resemble a bouquet of flowers which we had jokingly referred to at the beginning of the meal as the table decoration that we would have to eat! True enough we did have to eat a table decoration!
We were all hesitant of course, asking the waiting staff for assurances that we could eat this bouquet of flowers. They were kind enough and probably totally used to having to explain the contents of the bouquet to reassure us that they were edible. Apparently my nephew then pointed to one of the huge flower displays and said, “That’s the main course!” – a few really had to think there for a moment!
The best of the amuse bouche I would say is the consommé of tomatoes. I can’t describe well how they managed to get each individual taste to stand out on its own so clearly. There is of course the consommé, then fresh tomato, and on top of that a sorbet of tomato. The hot consommé with the cold sorbet matched perfectly and yet you can distinguish both individually. I’m afraid the picture below really does the dish no justice.
Equally interesting were the Belinis served with beetle leaves.
So the first of the main dishes in our tasting menu began. The description of the dishes are as follows.
Langouste: Langouste (from Tabanan, West Bali), barbecued with seaweeds, soft boiled Kampung egg & tamarind emulsion, seaweed cracker, seaweed from Lombok, blow-torched lettuce heart, cuca melon.
A very dramatic arrangement on the plate, pretty though! Unfortunately though it tasted good, I don’t think that the langouste was as fresh as it should be.
Catfish: Catfish breaded with herbed breadcrumbs, citrus & nasturtium butter sauce, butternut pumpkin preparations (creme, roasted & pickled), nastrurtium leaf mayonnaise.
It was a ‘meaty’ fish, very tasty, though one description was, (from a child I hasten to add), “it is just like ‘chicken nuggets’!” But however you may want to describe it, it was a very well liked dish as you can see from the picture of the near clean plate that I have put up as well.
Mackerel: Spanish mackerel (from Amed, North Bali), cured & slow cooked, frogs legs in caramelized butter with parsley, garlic chips, asparagus from Driya, parsley beurre blanc, green herbs, red wine reduction.
Pork: We buy (from Pak Parsa) a whole organically fed pig each week and break it down ourself. Each day we have two different cuts available, cooked & served the way we like it best. Two preparations of pork, green pepper corn sauce, purple potato pommes dauphine, blanched kale in bacon fat, bacon crumbs, bread & butter zucchini.
Chocolate & Citrus: Bitter chocolate foam (80% plus), served warm, local mandarin segments in red wine vinegar, bitter tangerine sauce, mint sorbet, slightly salty chocolate biscuit, tangerine tuille, chocolate mint leaves.
We were all struggling to keep up with the taste sensations with each presentation of new dishes, a very enjoyable experience and definitely a talking point from very simple to very complicated tastes and presentations. With this menu we did not opt for the pairing with alcohol (I think we would be too intoxicated as it would be a tasting of different types of alcohol and not just a straight forward wine tasting.
Perhaps I was expecting to be constantly surprised, as when the chocolate spheres were placed on the table, arriving slightly smoking on a bed of fresh thyme (perhaps other herbs), I thought I smelt a very distinctive and familiar smell, those associated when you walk around Camden Town in London, or in the cafes in Amsterdam.
I enjoyed very much my dinner at Locavore though I think it isn’t a place for growing teenagers nor those with voracious appetites! One thing though, I definitely need to have lunch here next time so that I can do the dishes justice with better images. The lighting was very low for dinner.
Restaurant Locavore, Ubud